Sandra Caduff has been working for IMK Ltd. since 2013. Initially employed as an assistant, today she is mother to one daughter and Lead Office Management of the company’s second-largest department.
Sandra, you’ve been working in office management at IMK Ltd. for over eight years now. How did you get started here?
I did a business apprenticeship with Messe Schweiz AG, now the MCH Group. While there, I worked for various different departments before coming to the Congress Center, which I enjoyed the most. Not long after my apprenticeship, I completed further training as a communications planner. After roles with an exhibition stand construction company and a pharmaceutical group, I then arrived at IMK Ltd., because I wanted to work with a smaller company again, and one of my previous bosses was working in the congress department here. But I have to say, my employment here didn’t get off to the smoothest start!
What do you mean?
Not long after I submitted my application, Executive Owner Harald Grossman called me up. But on the phone, his voice sounded a lot like a friend of mine’s. So I thought he was winding me up. When I finally realised I was actually speaking to Harald Grossmann, I was so embarrassed! But I still got the job and now I get to hear the story again every year at my annual review (laughs).
What was your first role at IMK Ltd.?
As an assistant, I provided support to the office managers, and was responsible for answering the telephone. Sometimes it was quite a challenge to stay on top of things, especially as IMK Ltd.'s scope of activities was already relatively large and I was the only assistant in the office department. I was then given responsibility for my own projects and mandates more and more often, and eventually promoted to office manager. Today, as Lead Office Management, I head up the office department, which currently has six employees.
From assistant to team leader - that’s quite an achievement!
Thank you. I'm grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given at IMK Ltd. I think that my career path has helped me understand the company, the team and the many tasks we have to accomplish. Most of the day-to-day business we manage are things I’ve already done myself. When our assistant tells me about a challenge she’s facing, I can really understand what she means and how we can best help her - because I was an assistant myself. But at the same time, it’s important to me that everyone in the Office Team can work independently, without me having to give detailed instructions, much less checking each individual job that’s been done. That wouldn’t be in my interest - or the company’s!
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Firstly, it has to be the close, friendly collaboration within the team and with our customers, most of whom I've been dealing with for several years. Secondly, working for IMK Ltd. is never boring, because we are in a dynamic, fast-moving industry and have to constantly evolve to keep up. I also value the organisational freedom we have working at IMK Ltd. It facilitates personal development, so I never feel stuck.
You became a mother in 2019, and after your maternity leave returned to IMK Ltd. in a part-time capacity. Today you have a workload of 60%. How are you finding that?
For me, it was always clear that I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mum. I wanted to continue my career after having my daughter. After six months of maternity leave, I came back to work and my return went well. Today, I feel like I'm mostly doing a good job of juggling my role as mother and my career.
How do you do that?
There are several factors at play. Of course, my husband is key. We complement each other well and offer each other support. In addition, both our families live nearby and are happy to watch our daughter from time to time. It’s also a big help that the dates for meetings I take part in are set at the end of the year before. That means we can organise things at home, as well as for the team. And when things just won’t work and, for example, I can’t attend a meeting, then we find a suitable solution within the department. Combining my career and my family does me good, and I'm very happy as a working mum, although it can sometimes be a challenge.